A bunch of people have been saying that they’re excited to see me at Kumoricon again this year. I’ve been doing the Kumoricon artist alley since before Modest Medusa, and I love the show, the attendees, the volunteers and several members of the staff. But…
I won’t be at Kumoricon this year. Artist alley was so horrible last year that I won’t be returning until they move it back to a proper room instead of a 90 degree parking garage with no restroom, air circulation, or water fountain. We were buried in the back of the garage, hundreds of feet from the nearest entrance. To find the artist alley you had to go to the parking garage (and why would you ever do that?), go past registration, go past the dealers area. Artist alley itself was split into two parts, the more visible section and the section hidden back behind a staircase. That’s where I was. We had to bring our own fans for air circulation. It was so hot that my clothes were soaked through with sweat each day, which isn’t ideal when you’re trying to sell your artwork. A friend of mine passed out and had to be taken away by ambulance. The volunteers were very helpful and understanding though. They always do a great job.
I sent an email and a facebook message to Kumoricon staff expressing my concerns, but I never heard back. That’s fine though. They don’t need to respond to every complaint, as long as they hear it. Back during the winter I had a chance to speak directly to one of the organizers when I ran into him at Red Castle games. I told him everything I mentioned above, and he said that he didn’t really think it was a problem. Artist alley wasn’t a priority, and it would be in the same spot this year., although it might change next year. I repeated that the heat was pretty unbearable, and that my friend had been taken away by ambulance. He said that this wasn’t true. I think he meant that he hadn’t heard about the indecent, but saying that it wasn’t true made it feel like he was calling me a liar. I don’t think that’s what he meant, but I was pretty astounded by that. When I said that I didn’t think I’d be coming back to pay for a table until artist alley was moved to a better location he said that there’s always someone else who would pay for the table instead
So I won’t be back until conditions improve. If you like Kumoricon you should really demand better conditions for artist alley.
Here’s some photos from the con of my booth and the area right in front of it. You can see that everyone is sweating, right? you can see how crappy the garage is?
I volunteered/staffed cons .. and uh.. Artist Alley?? In the PARKING GARAGE?! Are they NUTS? Especially in August?!
Good God she is just messing everything up!
Sam must be a patient guy if he’s willing to stay on the line while Modest runs around town looking for Ekans and getting distracted by various things.
” I think he meant that he hadn’t heard about the indecent,”
His response is quite indecent, indeed.
If wonder whether using the garage like that is even legal to be honest. Especially given the heat conditions and what not. I’m not a lawyer but it wouldn’t surprise me if your friend who passed out would have grounds for legal action against them, especially since you mentioned that the organizers didn’t provide fans or anything.
There was one very large industrial fan at the parking garage entrance, and it did a good job of cooling down the area right around it. They didn’t bring that in till the second day though, and it was in response to the complaints about the heat from people waiting in the reg line (which was in the front area of the garage). But this was an enormous space, and we were all the way in the back, blocked off by room dividers and stairwells. There was also a small air conditioning unit in our general area, but it didn’t little except cool down the area within a few feet around it. I walked over to it a few times and stood directly over it to cool off, but the moment I walked away I started sweating again.
Really, the space was just too huge to cool down. Maybe they’ll do a better job with it this year
You’d think that an incident like that would be better known, considering it could result in a lawsuit. The Kumoricon guys should be more careful about their conditions, or else someone who isn’t a nice guy like you and your friends will try to sue them
Prince Dragul: Why should I comment on this baseless accusation? You have no proof.
Station Commander: Really? We have pictures of you at the con, mingling with the cosplayers. Shots of you talking to the organisers. Footage of you strolling about in Artist Alley, gloating.
Prince Dragul: As you say, a cosplayer.
Station Commander: Gloating… and NOT SWEATING!!
Prince Dragul: *smiles slowly* They say a man has to have a hobby.
Station Commander: And I’d say I have to look into charges of reckless endangerment. Take him back to the cells.
Cell door: *clang*
Marah: *ahem* Why was I not surprised…? Hello again, Prince Dragul. I wanted to introduce you to all of my friends from Badass Heaven, but this cell is only so big. So… meet Queen Hippolyta, Queen Penthesilea, Dreadful Skatha, and Saint Jeanne d’Arc. And this is for my Uncle Jake and all his fellow artists…
This is the strangest, best ongoing fanfic ever.
I try. >:=)>
Getting serious for a moment, I recall that the UK’s health and safety regs give a minimum acceptable temperature for general indoor workspaces, but not a maximum. I don’t know if this is the case anywhere else. Presumably, the con organisers got the use of that parking garage for a reasonable price, and presumably for less than the rooms were previously used for Artist Alley. One would hope that if they had simply been turfed out in favour of another organisation, they would reschedule to eliminate the clash, relocate to another venue, or just tell all their conventiongoers the reason. Ditto if it was down to financial constraints: “it’s either this, no Artist Alley, or price increases – we can’t afford it otherwise” would come across a lot better than “there isn’t a problem, we’re not going to talk about it, take it or leave it.”
Since, presumably, they’re not doing it for the sheer joy of evil, it might just be financial – as events like this mature, there is a tendency for costs to balloon, as things tend to shift from a “make-do” footing to “fully professional” and as the tendency increases for various of the people involved to start thinking seriously about fiscal compensation. Or maybe they’ve just decided that they don’t think much of Artist Alley, and are looking to downsize it (or at least, downgrade it). Or, getting into paranoid theories here… had you at any point considered banding together with some like-minded artists, avoiding that hellish garage next time around, and taking a booth in what now appears to constitute the convention proper, working around staffing limits and so on amongst yourselves, and paying full rate? Perhaps somebody is hoping that lots of artists will start moving in that direction…
I haven’t considered taking a booth in the dealers hall proper. I am now thinking about renting out a space in the building across the street next year and running my own artist alley.
Oh hell yes! If we have this project done in time I will rent a few tables! 😀
You said that you sent in some Modest Medusa stuff to Hostess. I hope they hire you, she’s so cute that she’s make a great spokesman. BTW- I think it’s really cool that you interact with us. It shows you care what we think.
Hey, I think it’s really cool you guys interact with me!
Jake, I am so *&^% pissed off at Kumoricon. What a #$%^& joke! Seriously, that is completely unprofessional. I am finally hiring an artist for my deck. It is insane by the way how much it costs to get a decent manga artist. I think we got a steal for $30k. I was already scoping out Fanime and Akon, but with reports like what Kumoricon is up to I am seriously going to have to rethink what cons we will have booths at next year. Thank you VERY much for sharing. Also, thanks for your hard work on the Chocodiles. Now that the idiots at Hostess have sold out (and are gone), perhaps the new company might just pick up MM. It would beat the hell out of the cowboy currently on the box. Anyway, thanks for your persistence.
Be careful about anime cons. Some are great and some are awful, and sometimes great ones have awful artist alleys or vendor areas, and sometimes at awful ones the artist alley or vendor area is the only highlight. get a first hand report before you commit.
Also, glad to hear you found an artist you like!
Thanks man 🙂
It took a LOT of hunting, but we should be good.